It’s no secret Santa Barbara is beautiful. It’s no secret Santa Barbara has great weather. And it’s no secret Santa Barbara has some special places to accommodate visitors to the “American Riviera” every day of the year.
One of those special places is the Bath Street Inn. However, it’s no secret anymore, as evidenced by the people we met there who came from all over to stay at this charming Bed & Breakfast. We met newlyweds on their honeymoon – with “Just Married” painted on the back window of their car, as well as a mid-west businessman who told us he had been coming here for years for work trips and considered Bath Street Inn his “home away from home.” A student and her mother traveling from San Francisco to San Diego and a thirty-something woman taking a break from being a single mom in L.A. were there, too. Later, we talked to several people we know from Los Angeles who told us they’ve stayed at the Bath Street Inn.
Why do people love this B&B? We found numerous reasons, including its charm, its location, and its owners and staff. The Bath Street Inn is a delightful, warm and welcoming place in a quiet residential neighborhood. The most wonderful aspect is that it’s comforting and friendly to all travelers – whether you’re on a romantic retreat or going solo.
Another reason for liking the Bath Street Inn? Invariably, the first thing mentioned in any conversation of this historic Bed & Breakfast is their breakfast. They feature a beautifully presented and delicious morning meal. Our first morning’s repast consisted of a starter of orange juice and coffee. Then the most delectable poached peach with crème fraiche – ‘twas melt-in-your-mouth yummylicious. This was followed by their first-rate homemade granola served with milk or yogurt. But wait – there was more! Our final course was absolutely divine cottage cheese pancakes served with their homemade mixed-berry topping. Rich and comforting, they were like no pancakes we’ve ever had before. Totally scrumptious!
For our second day’s breakfast, our first course was orange juice, coffee and fresh fruit. Then came the homemade granola with yogurt and fresh strawberries. The main breakfast entrée was their Florentine Omelet: thick and fluffy made with spinach and two types of cheese. What a way to start the day! Energized and happy!
Every day at the Bath Street Inn there is a fresh assortment of treats starting with Afternoon Tea at 4 pm and a Wine and Cheese hour from 5:30 – 6:30 pm. Their afternoon staples are a variety of home-baked goodies. On our visit, we sampled Banana Nut Cake, Upside Down Peach Cake, homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies, Brownies, Butter Cookies and Spice Cookies. Needless to say, we had to try them all – and yes, they were all soooooo good. These tempting goodies are available when you come back to the Bath Street Inn after an evening out and want a late night snack.
Be aware that the scent from the baking in the kitchen wafts through the air into your room and doesn’t fail to put a smile on your face all day. We believe that the owners, Marie Christensen and Deborah Gentry, planned this neat trick to keep reminding you of how wonderful their place is to visit. Those two permanently smiling faces have something in mind while working so hard to make us happy.
One thing that makes historic B&B’s so special is their “story.” Deborah shared with us some of the charming history of their 1895 Queen Anne Victorian house. Back in the 1980’s when the original B&B founder was converting the house, she spent time researching its origins in the Santa Barbara building archives. She discovered that the first owner of the house was a local businessman named Richard Hails who bought it in 1895 as a 50th wedding anniversary present for his wife Abigail. (One of the rooms is the Abigail Room in her honor). She also discovered that descendants of the original family were living in Los Angeles, and she invited them to the grand opening of the B&B. They arrived with historical photos of the house, including some of Abigail and Richard. Those photos now grace the walls of the parlor. It was treat learning about the B&B’s historic journey, and made our stay even more intimate and personal.
There are 8 guest rooms in the main three-story house, each decorated with antiques and modern amenities. The Summer House is a newer structure in the back of the main building that features 4 rooms. All of these have cozy fireplaces and 3 of them have Jacuzzis as well.
We stayed in the main house in the Partridge Room – named for the wallpaper that decorates it. The room contains a queen bed, two soft armchairs, and a claw-foot bathtub. It has 2 entrances – one leading down to the parlor – the other directly outside to the parking lot. This was convenient for easy handling of luggage, and for privacy in coming and going.
Another enjoyable facet of the Bath Street Inn is its location. It’s only blocks from the freeway and very convenient to downtown Santa Barbara. Because it’s in a residential area, instead of being surrounded by tourists, you get to walk around and spend time with the locals at their neighborhood hangouts. We discovered a cool coffee house on Mission Street and took a leisurely jaunt to look at the beautiful homes and greenery nearby. This very unusual tree stood out around the corner.
Now that we’ve told you all about the Bath Street Inn, it’s not our secret anymore, either. We’re sure Deborah and Marie will be happy to hear you know our secret by visiting them. And we know you’ll want to be telling others your secret, too! This delightful Bed & Breakfast is definitely a secret that’s meant to be shared.